Dream Cheeky, www.dreamcheeky.com
Fun; easy to use
Long pairing time; G-Sensor mode didn’t work well
US$99.99 + shipping
USB-controlled foam-missile launchers have been with us for a little while now, but what Dream Cheeky’s done with the iLaunch Thunder is to dispense with the wires and give us a weapon of minimal destruction that can be controlled via an iOS device from about 10m away.
It uses air pistons to fire pencil-thin, 6cm-long foam darts with flat heads for minimal danger and fins for stability.
Servos inside the 13cm-high launcher give it 270-degree horizontal rotation and 40-degree vertical movement. Combined with the darts’ shooting distance of about 8m, Dream Cheeky says, this gives you a war zone of 111 square metres.
Connection from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to the iLaunch Thunder is via Bluetooth. Setup is, as usual, simple enough, but it can take quite a while for the DC358 to show up in the Bluetooth list or to pair … long enough for us to have been on the verge of giving up a few times.
The free iLaunch Controller app presents you with a simple grid-screen with green cross-hairs in the centre. Sliding your finger up down or across the screen causes the launcher to swivel or tilt, and a press of the cross-hairs launches a missile. An amazingly loud klaxon sound can – thankfully – be muted at the touch of a button. Another button brings up two settings: Shake to Fire and G-Sensor on/off.
The G-Sensor mode allows you to tilt your iOS device left, right, forward or back to control the launcher. Try as we could, though, we could never get the iLaunch Thunder to move vertically this way.
The only other settings are in the Settings app, where you can adjust the fire, up/down and left/right speeds.
The Thunder is powered by a rechargeable and replaceable lithium battery which gives an hour of playtime for an hour and a half of recharging time.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice.
The iLaunch Thunder is a whole heap of fun, but it’s a shame we couldn’t get it to work properly in G-Sensor mode.